What should have been the pinnacle of the Asia League Hockey’s 2010-11 season, turned into an escape from disaster. The Tohoku Free Blades were to meet Anyang Halla in the league finals when the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan. Tohoku is right in the impact zone and the players experienced the phenomenon first hand, though all escaped safely.
The finals were to feature two Ontario Hockey League alumni going head to head. Dustin Wood plays for the South Korean Anyang Halla and Cole Jarrett plays for the Free Blades. The two teams have been declared co-champions as obvious more important matters are at hand in Japan.
Dustin Wood played four seasons in the OHL from 1998-99 to 2001-02, all with the Peterborough Petes. In his final season with Peterborough, Wood was the team captain.
After four years of jumping around in the North American pro leagues, Dustin made the jump to Europe for the 2007-08 season. Wood played two seasons in Germany’s Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) before switching to the Asia League for the 2009-10 season. Anyang Halla was Asia League champion in his first year and were co-champions this year after the rest of the playoffs were called off.Cole Jarrett played four years in the Ontario Hockey League from 1999-00 to 2002-03, all with the Plymouth Whalers. Jarrett was a fifth round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, 141st overall. His only NHL game came during the 2005-06 season with the New York Islanders.
From 2006-07 to 2009-10, Jarrett toured Europe playing for teams in Germany, Finland, Sweden and Austria. He joined the Free Blades this season and led the league’s defensemen in goals (18) and points (51).
Check out this article from Pro Hockey News for more information on how the Disaster affected the players in the ALH.